The philosophical corpus attributed to the preeminent eighth-century Śvetāmbara scholar-monk Haribhadrasūri presents one of the most sustained, systematic, and multifaceted engagements with religious difference in all of medieval South Asian literature. This talk will examine his various modes of engaging difference and how they fit together: his doxographies surveying the varieties of belief; polemics that advocate critical interrogation of partisan allegiances; rules for debate that seek common ground in the face of divergent identity-based presuppositions; and his philosophical magnum opus on the metaphysics of non-one-sidedness (anekāntavāda), which can be read as a way of retrieving agreement in the midst of disagreement.
Anil Mundra is the Alka Siddhartha Dalal Postdoctoral Fellow for the Study of Jainism at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His research focuses on how South Asian philosophers conceptualized doctrinal differences, navigated disagreements, and sought agreement with others in the multi-religious ferment of Sanskrit discourse in the late first millennium CE. His talk will draw on his current book project, No Identity without Diversity: Haribhadrasūri’s Anekāntavāda as a Jain Response to Doctrinal Difference, which provides a sustained treatment of the contributions of Haribhadrasūri to the development of a premodern Jain cosmopolitanism that accommodated a range of competing voices within a single discourse.